The Featured Writer of January: Kirstin Viland
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Pro tip: Quilting is more than a hobby; a quilter is an artist, for art is what comes from your heart to create beauty in the world.
Hi all! My name is Kirstin Viland and I am a volunteer designer at FandominStitches.com. I stumbled upon FandominStitches completely by accident but I absolutely fell in love working with the other designers, pattern testers, and the community of quilters! They are how I discovered foundation paper piecing.
My first paper pieced quilt was from the Rankin Bass quilt along that Fandom in Stitches held back in 2018. One year later, after doing some traditional piecing, I was itching for another paper piecing challenge. In December of 2019, I decided to tackle a queen size quilt with over 50 unique paper pieced blocks for my sister for Christmas.
At first it seemed daunting, but as I began designing the patterns, I realized something:
Quilts can be art.
I had never really thought about it until then. I guess I figured it was just a passionate hobby. But then I started looking at blogs and Instagram, and that's when I realized that quilts were more than just comfy and warm. Quilts are beautiful and can cause just as much emotion as a painting.
This 2020 quilt challenge allowed me to not only create blocks that were reflecting my sister's personality and favorite shows/movies/comics, it allowed me to design fun new blocks. I was able to express myself in these blocks and create amusement for her.
Now nearly 40 designs under my belt, with everything from fruit to Batman to traditional star patterns, I can say that quilting is an artistic passion. I love seeing my designs come to life on a computer screen, then on paper, and then in fabric. The most rewarding feeling is seeing one of my patterns being shared by another quilter on the Fandom in Stitches Facebook page.
Looking back now over my 2020 quilt challenge (yes, it took all 12 months up to the day before Christmas), I realize something else. There are blocks that reflect all the different stages of the year for me. It wasn't on purpose, but this quilt reflects more than what I set out to do, similar to how art reflects the artist's mood.
It shows how I grew in one year, how I needed others, how not everything is perfect, and how sometimes we just have to muscle through. But my favorite thing that these blocks show is the love that I have for the person I created it for.
Life isn't perfect (2020 definitely wasn't) and neither are quilts. My Grandma taught me that. She is the one who taught me to quilt. But there is a reason we sign our quilts: Made with Love. Because art comes from the heart, and quilts are made of love.
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